New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Did Trey Flowers inadvertently hint at his offseason intentions in his latest public appearance?

The Patriots defensive end is on track to hit unrestricted free agency next Wednesday, and he’ll be the best available at his position. He stands to make a lot of money, which ostensibly wouldn’t come from New England. But based on what he told the crowd at a recent AHL hockey game for the Springfield Thunderbirds, perhaps he intends to stick around with the Pats.

Speaking to fans with the Lombardi Trophy in tow, Flowers said: “Thanks to everybody in the New England area showing the Patriots support. We couldn’t have done it without y’all. This [trophy] is No. 6 – we want seven. … We want seven, yeah, we want seven!”

BLOOMINGTON, MN - FEBRUARY 01: Trey Flowers of the New England Patriots speaks to the press during the New England Patriots Media Availability for Super Bowl LII at the Mall of America on February 1, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers of the New England Patriots speaks to the press during the New England Patriots Media Availability for Super Bowl LII at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s important not to read into his comment too much. At the end of the day he’s just hyping the crowd. This declaration is far from a binding contract to re-sign with the Patriots. At the same time Flowers could have simply said something along the lines of, “Thanks for everything New England!” without throwing in the last part about trophy No. 7. At that point the leading take would be “He’s saying goodbye!” so it’s only fair to make assumptions in the other direction.

So for now, Flowers wants that seventh trophy. But it’s likely he’ll need to turn down a more lucrative contract offer in order to be a part of that mission.

I’ll say this: it’s a little peculiar that there hasn’t been a ton of buzz about Flowers’ free agency outside of New England, beyond the Dolphins being the reported front-runners to sign him. Perhaps his relative lack of stats compared to other premier defensive linemen, and offseason shoulder surgery, end up working in the Patriots’ favor to keep his price tag down.

Clearly, the team is comfortable at least letting Flowers explore the open market. It’s up to him whether he chooses the highest bidder or the chance for a seventh Lombardi.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.